Comfort Care Hospice becomes Aveanna Hospice after rebranding
Published 11:00 am Saturday, March 11, 2023
Comfort Care Hospice has served citizens of the community for over 20 years and recently culminated a year-long rebranding with the same service but a different name: Aveanna Hospice.
Although the transition will require updated signage and other minor enhancements, the facility’s day-to-day operations will not be affected by the name change.
“We want everyone to know we are still here; we just have a new name,” Executive Director Kimberly Ray said. “We are still the hospice Lisa Teel, Kenny Holt, and Dr. Joanne Smith started 20 years ago. Our focus has always been and will continue to be the same: our patients, their families, and their caregivers. Being part of a merger like this is no easy task. We all feel like we are saying goodbye to a close friend as this chapter closes. However, being a part of the Aveanna family gives us the opportunity to expand our service and hopefully serve more patients than ever before.”
Based in Atlanta, Aveanna Healthcare purchased Comfort Care Hospice in December 2021.
“Our mission is to revolutionize the way homecare is delivered, one patient at a time. We spent all of 2022 in transition implementing new procedures with payroll, electronic documentation, and aligning with the existing service lines of Aveanna. There will be no changes that will affect our patients and families. We will remain in the same office,” she said.
Ray added that she and her staff had a long year due to the rebranding, but everyone was able to remain in their current roles. “There have been challenges along the way, the biggest probably learning new software systems for payroll, employee services, and documentation. I’m super proud of our team though because we have met those challenges head-on and are now on the other side.”
Aveanna will retain its same 18 employees prior to rebranding. “My direct manager, Diane Payne, is the same. Our vice president of operations in the hospice division, Lisa Teel, is still the same. Dr. JoAnne Smith is still our medical director. Most of our staff was also raised here in Covington County.”
Ray’s staff underwent a large amount of work throughout the rebranding process.
“On the legal side, there is federal, state, and local licensure that had to be applied for and approved. On our end, on top of learning new systems, there is name recognition, which entails new signage inside and outside of the office, relearning how we answer the phone, and getting our name change out into the community,” she said.
The name officially changed from Comfort Care Hospice to Aveanna Hospice on Tuesday, Feb. 28, when licensure was approved. Planning is now underway to welcome the community at an open house scheduled for Tuesday, April 4, at 11 a.m.
According to Ray, the volunteer program will not be affected.
“Our volunteer program has not changed. Judy Ramsey is our volunteer coordinator, and she is always looking for folks who want to get involved with volunteering and making a difference. To become a volunteer, we encourage you to visit our office and see Judy to get started,” she said.
Ray began as the RN case manager in 2012 and became the patient care coordinator in 2015. She has served in her current role as the executive director since 2020. “I’ve been a nurse for a long time, but I feel hospice is my true calling. I’ve been with Comfort Care for 11 years, and I am blessed to lead a team of compassionate, caring people like we have here. It’s been my honor to serve the families in our community, and I am excited to continue that as a part of the Aveanna family.”
She believes it is important to recognize hospice care is not only for the elderly.
“Anyone who is diagnosed by their physician with a life-limiting illness could be eligible for our service. Hospice does not look only at the patient and their medical problems; we see the patient and family as a unit. A unit needs medical care but also spiritual support, emotional support, and needed resources. There is a financial benefit for the patient as well because hospice covers some out-of-pocket expenses like medications related to the diagnosis, equipment needs, and certain supplies that are needed, such as gloves, diapers, and more.”
Aveanna’s future goals are to continue serving the community and providing the best care possible.
“Every day is a day we can positively impact our patients’ lives. I hope to continue to provide education on hospice with the hope of removing some of the stigma and fear that goes along with the word ‘hospice.’ Yes, hospice is end-of-life care, but it does not always mean the last few days, weeks, or months. We have served patients who lived far past the six-month prognosis, and typically getting a hospice patient sooner gives us the best opportunity to improve their quality of life,” Ray said.
Aveanna Hospice is located at 820 South Three Notch Street, Suite C in Andalusia. Office hours are weekdays from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. with a nurse available on call 24 hours a day.
For more information visit aveanna.com or call 334-427-4000.